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Screen Printing

Choice Image, Inc. takes pride in having an experienced staff that provides exceptional screen printing quality.  We have 30 years of experience screen printing complicated artwork for national retailers and local clients.  We use the latest screen printing techniques and technology to insure that your t-shirts look perfect.

The Process:

The screen printing process may be more complicated than you might expect.  Even in our high tech culture the screen printing process still requires human decision making and manual labor.  A multitude of variables must come together in a perfect combination to create the perfect T-shirt.

Step 1 - Artwork:

First you start with artwork.  We take every T-shirt design through Adobe Illustrator.  The artwork, once perfected and approved by the customer, is separated by colors and printed on to film.  Meanwhile a screen must be prepared.

Step 2 - Prepare the screen:

A screen consists silk screen (actually a synthetic polyester mesh), carefully stretched over a metal or wooden frame.  There are many types of mesh screens with different sized openings for more or less ink flow.  Each screen must be washed, cleaned, and then covered with a blocking agent.

Step 3 - Put artwork on the screen:

A critical decision must be made at this point.  Based on the artwork the screen printer must determine which screen mesh count (the size of the opening in the screen) must be selected based on the color in the artwork and the garment type.  Some inks are thicker than others and will require a different mesh count.  Once the screen is prepared you can take the film and place it on the screen.  The artwork is then "burned" onto the screen.

The "burning" process consists of a light exposure unit and a washing procedure.  The direct light on the screen hardens the blocking agent on the screen.  The artwork on the film blocks the light, therefore the screen area remains unexposed and can be washed out, providing a controlled area for the ink to flow.

Step 4 - Set-up:

All colors must be selected to match the artwork and then placed in the screens.  The screens must be registered and put in a specific order for the art to look perfect.  The screen printer must determine the process based on the blending of colors and drying process.

Step 5 - Screen Print your Shirts:

The manual process requires the screen printer to flood (cover the screen with ink) and press the ink through the screen with a squeegee.  Once the screens are set up, all that remains is loading and unloading the shirts. 

Step 6 - Cure and fold:

Basically all that is left is sending the shirts down the dryer and folding them in dozens.  In order for your T-shirt to still look good after the 100 wear, the ink must be fully cured.  The temperature of the ink is determined by the time the shirt is under the heater and the temperature of the heater.  The heater temperature in a dryer or flash curing unit reaches approximately 800º F, it is possible for the ink film on the garment to reach the full cure temperature of 320º F in approximately 30-40 seconds.  Once the ink is cured it becomes a part of the tee and is ready to wear.

Custom t shirts Denver